Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ILN Business Development Webinar Series: Review of Six Ways to Increase Results from Your Limited Marketing Time

In coordination with Jim Hassett of LegalBizDev, the ILN put together a series of five educational webinars available to member firms on a monthly basis, starting in January of 2009. Jim is the founder of LegalBizDev, which helps lawyers to develop new business by applying best practices from other law firms and professions through coaching, webinars and workshops, retreats and much more. Jim comes highly recommended by the Legal Marketing Association, who regularly relies on his expertise for their conferences and webinars. More information about working with Jim and his colleagues can be found on their website.

The first webinar, Six Ways to Increase Results from Your Limited Marketing Time, took place on January 28, 2009. Jim described the session: "Lawyers never seem to have enough time for marketing. This presentation will help lawyers save time by developing new business more efficiently. We will review the research on what works in legal marketing to help you focus on the individual tactics that are most likely to produce immediate and practical results for your practice, your personality and your schedule, starting with prioritizing marketing activities by applying six key principles: Start with current clients, listen, plan advances, focus on personal strengths, work with others, and build the right relationships."

Some of the highlights from the session include:

* The legal profession is changing, but not only because of the economic crisis, and it's getting harder to develop new business. This is evidenced by there being a number of new marketing techniques that were not around twenty years ago.

* Lawyers have greater challenges for business development than sales people because of their limited time. This is especially true for litigators and Jim pointed out that while marketing principles are the same, tactics may differ. He said that litigators will focus more on referral sources than current clients and that visibility and reputation may be more important than relationships.

* Jim used examples and book recommendations to illustrate the six ways to increase results from limited marketing time:
  • Current clients: This topic is so important that it will be the focus of the second webinar.
  • Listen: Experts suggest listening 50-80% of the time and Jim offered some practical tips for how to improve listening skills.
  • Plan Your Advances: Jim explained that 90% of sales calls in a successful sales process (one that results in new business) do not result in a successful sale. They simply advance the relationship. So Jim emphasized that when planning a meeting, attorneys should figure out what's the best thing they can do to bring them closer to getting a piece of new business. He defined an "advance" as "an action that moves the sale forward."
  • Personal Strengths: Jim talked about the stereotypes that people hold about what makes a good salesperson, and said that people with different personalities can be successful in business development. The key is understanding their strengths and finding the right fit.
  • Work with Others: In order to provide accountability, Jim recommended forming a group with a few other lawyers who care about business development. The group can meet once a week or once a month, go over their to-do lists, and create some friendly competition to achieve the action items developed. Jim also supported working with a business development coach.
  • The Right Relationships: When developing business, it's important to focus on the right relationships. Jim said that all lawyers should develop a quick business plan - he emphasized that a plan was necessary to avoid engaging in "Random Acts of Lunch," but that lawyers shouldn't spend too much time planning and not taking action. To do this, lawyers need to define their niche, meet the right people, and qualify their prospects to determine if they will buy, if they'll buy soon, and whether they'll buy from them. Jim also recommended reading "How to Win Friends and Influence People" for common sense advice on how to interact with people in a new way.

* Jim summed up by encouraging the attorneys to prioritize their marketing activities relentlessly, so that they can make the most of their marketing time.

The webinar recording and materials for this first session are available to ILN member firms at no charge - please contact me for more information.

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